Flashback Album of the Week

Jeff Yerger

It has been said that great things come in the smallest and simplest packages. In the music biz, it’s all about making something big and attention-grabbing. Peter Gabriel knows all about making attention-grabbing music; just go back to his days as Genesis frontman where he created one of the most daring, experimental and epic double albums of all time in “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.”

Eight years after his infamous split with Genesis, Gabriel’s solo career finally blossomed. Up to this point, Gabriel’s solo career had a few high points mixed in among his dark, brooding experimentation. But, never before did his sense of pop song writing and experimentation blend as well as it did in 1986’s breakthrough album “So.”

While the title may not be large in stature, “So” is full of very big ideas. The album’s opener, “Red Rain,” is an emotional song about a reoccurring dream Gabriel used to have about swimming in a sea of red water.

Gabriel has always had a knack for creating deep, lyrical imagery in his songs. Even in singles like “Big Time” and “Sledgehammer,” Gabriel’s charm and wit take his songs to another level. “Sledgehammer,” in particular, is a good showcase of Gabriel’s unique song writing.

It sounds like a funky version of a 1920’s big-band jam, and if you want to see what a real music video looks like, I suggest you take a look at the award-winning one for this song.

Gabriel is an artist that refuses to be bland. He immerses himself in other world genres, which leads to songs like the romantic “In Your Eyes,” “That Voice Again” as well as the serene and contemplative “Mercy Street.”

It is the diversity, talent and quirkiness of Gabriel that makes “So” such a big album. It’s a pop album without surrendering to the standard pop format; it’s as experimental as it is catchy. Welcome to the mind of Peter Gabriel. Once you check in, you may not want to check out.